Deborah Grabien: The Weaver And The Factory Maid

“Ringan, what a glorious little house this is. Utterly picture-postcard, all E.M. Forster and Beatrix Potter, by way of Merchant-Ivory. This ivy climbing all over the walls is almost too much.”

Ringan Laine, a British folk musician and an expert in the restoration of period architecture, has recently become the owner of a country cottage dating back to the eighteenth century. When Ringan moves in, however, he discovers right away that the cottage and the ancient barn on his new property are haunted.

The shaft of cold, as icy as it was unexpected, stabbed him between the shoulder blades. He was standing in a pool of sunlight, the temperature was over seventy, and he’d just been thinking about opening some windows to cool the place off. Yet, for one incredulous moment, he’d felt as if he’d walked into an ice box. Every hair on his body bristled, and his knees went rubbery. And he suddenly wanted to burst into tears.

Researching the identity of their unwanted tenants, Ringan and his longtime lover, Penny, learn that they were a young couple, victims of a famous double murder in the year 1817. Their story is the subject of a song that is a staple in Ringan’s repertoire. To lay th ghostly couple to rest, Ringan and Penny must stage a full-scale musical exorcism.

If I had realised the blurb was so long, I would summarized it myself!

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, onto my review–or opinion if you’re a stickler.

There’s a lot of lovely language packed into this little book, not flowery but atmospheric. In fact, Deborah Grabien‘s managed the trick of making book feel British–she’s not, though she lived there for a few years, I think.

She’s managed to weave the past and the present together seamlessly, and the characterization’s pretty damn good. I want to see more of Ringan and Penny!

It’s not my usual kind of thing–I don’t often read mysteries any more and I got this only because I’m interviewing Deborah–but I’m definitely getting the next book.

This rates 3.5 out of 5.


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